Sasse calls Murphy’s ‘Twitter self-pleasuring’ to task: ‘The republic got dumber because of that tweet’

Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. and Ben Sasse, R-Neb., got into a spirited debate on the Senate floor on Thursday when Sasse took great exception to the Democrat’s “Twitter self-pleasuring,” this being a snide reference to Murphy blasting nine Republican senators for voting against a $12 billion aid package for Ukraine — the aid being part of the larger $1.5 Trillion appropriations bill that just passed.

In naming the GOP senators, Murphy tweeted, “Of the Republican Senators who attended this weeks ‘Biden isn’t doing enough for Ukraine’ press conference… 2/3 of them […] voted AGAINST the bipartisan $12B Ukraine aid.”

Sasse initially responded from the floor, with a blow-up of Murphy’s tweet as a visual aid, calling it “transparently stupid.”

“Many politicians are addicted to Twitter. They want their sick burns and their retweets and their likes… They have an addiction, and it’s sad,” he added.

When Murphy took the floor, he addressed Sasse’s criticism taking exception to the words “Full-Time Tribal Hackery” displayed on the visual showcasing his tweet.

“I got the chance to hear some of Senator Sasse’s remarks,” Murphy began. “I noted the floor chart with my name on it, accusing me of what he called ‘tribal hackery.’ I’m not exactly sure what the rules of the Senate are. I’m not sure that that is becoming of the United States Senate, to use those terms about fellow members.”

In short order, Sasse asked Murphy if he would be willing to yield the floor, which resulted in this interesting exchange:

SASSE: Let me see if I understand what you just said. So eight-tenths of 1% of the bill passed in the middle of the night last week is about Ukrainian aid. Do you believe that the people that voted against it voted against it because they were against Ukrainian aid?

MURPHY: So every one of us approaches a big–

SASSE: I’m asking a really simple question. Do you think a single person that your Twitter self-pleasuring was for, do you think that a single person that voted against it, voted against it because they were against Ukrainian aid?

MURPHY: Absolutely not.

SASSE: So then what’s the point of the tweet?

MURPHY: The point is this. It’s that the only way this place passes legislation is compromise, is voting on pieces of legislation that have in it–

SASSE: Where are the pieces, dude? It’s $1.5 trillion.

PRESIDING OFFICER: Senators. I ask the senators to direct their questioning to the president and give the other senators the decorum to respond.


Murphy countered to say the only way to pass legislation is  “to find a path to compromise,” noting that there are often provisions within a bill that members disagree with but still vote for the overall measure — this being a reality that is frequently taken advantage of by agenda-driven lawmakers.

While Sasse agreed with Murphy’s assessment, in general, he said the Democrat “misrepresented why some people who voted against” the spending bill.

“But the real thing we’re talking about is grandstanding,” he continued. “There’s not a person on Earth who’s persuaded by that kind of tweet. You didn’t move anybody. You’re doing fan service for a subset of people who like Chris Murphy. I get why some people would like things that you stand for and advocate for. I get it.”

“But there’s not a person who disagreed with you who’s moved because of a tweet like that, There’s not an uninformed American who became informed, but there is a subset of the people who already like you that you got to grandstand for. That’s all that happened with that tweet. The republic got dumber because of that tweet. Nobody learned anything.”

The full exchange can be seen here:


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